$12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

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ncbill
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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by ncbill » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:19 pm

UALflyer wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:03 pm
deikel wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:31 pm
Could the OP maybe describe what features this 12k fridge has compared to a more 'normal' choice - I am curious what innovations there have been in the fridge world.....
As I mentioned above, the refrigerators are not interchangeable, but since you are curious, I can describe the differences. Built in refrigerators are cabinet depth, which is 24", so they can be flush with kitchen cabinetry. Standard refrigerators are all much deeper than that, and are generally between 29" and 35" in depth, so you can't install them flush with kitchen cabinetry.

From a functional standpoint, an advantage of a built in refrigerator is not just in the way it is designed for a seamless look (you can also have it completely integrated into the cabinetry, where the refrigerator door exactly matches the cabinetry, so that it all looks like one unit), but also in the fact that having a wider and more shallow refrigerator makes it much easier to see and reach things in it than the more narrow and deeper design of standard refrigerators.

Also, modern standard refrigerators are generally designed to last 8-10 years. Built-in refrigerators are designed to be significantly more durable, so that they are designed to last at least 20 years, and come with significantly longer warranties. Most standard refrigerators come with a 1-year warranty. Most built-in refrigerators now come with 2-3 year full warranties, 5-year parts and labor sealed system warranty, and a 12-year parts only sealed system warranty. These differences account for at least some of the price differences.

Although all refrigerators are designed to keep food cold, that's not all that is needed to keep food from spoiling. I think that all modern built in refrigerators now use dual compressors and air filtration, which makes most types of refrigerated and frozen foods last significantly longer.

The downsides to built-in refrigerators are their outrageous upfront pricing, as they are all made by a few high-end manufacturers.
yep, a quick look over at the CR website has their "recommended" pick of standard fridges starting at $1500 (depending on design)

the top-rated "recommended" built-ins are closer to $9000.

so my answer is "design the kitchen to use standard appliances" - NO built-ins.

UALflyer
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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by UALflyer » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:54 am

ncbill wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:19 pm
yep, a quick look over at the CR website has their "recommended" pick of standard fridges starting at $1500 (depending on design)

the top-rated "recommended" built-ins are closer to $9000.

so my answer is "design the kitchen to use standard appliances" - NO built-ins.
The vast majority of the population buys houses with kitchen cabinets already in place. Hence, my point above that the refrigerator types are not interchangeable, so it's not like a person replacing a built-in refrigerator has the option of putting in a $1K fridge without making extensive and expensive changes to the kitchen.

If you are one of the few homeowners redesigning a kitchen, the decision on whether to use a built in refrigerator or a standard one tends to come down to the type of house that you own. Built in refrigerators do generally function better, keep food fresh much longer and are built to last much longer, so they tend to be the equipment of choice in higher end houses, and better kitchens is a significant factor that tends to allow you to sell a house faster and for more money. So, with a higher end house, putting in a lower end kitchen can easily end up costing you more money down the road. You don't generally want to overimprove your house for the market, but underimproving it can be just as dangerous.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:11 am

Notice that "built in" appliances typically cost much much more than freestanding. IE: a freestanding electric range is fairly generic and highly competitive in price. It cooks food.
But once the same unit becomes a "built in" without side panels, the price goes up exponentially, yet the "innards" are the same.
As an aside, I had an apartment building where the stove units were all "built in". I paid a cabinet carpenter to reconfigure the countertops and lower cabinets so it would accommodate a slide in "free stand range unit. It came out well. After that repair costs were lower, accessibility was better, and replacement was economical.

Some of the problems with "built in" appliances have been from the "heat" since they are enclosed. Typically the touch circuit board controls go first, and so forth.

In the age of globalization, the compressors are the same design, the circuit boards and touch panels are shared, and so forth. So the utility of the appliance is not where all the extra dollars go.
After that, one pays for the frosting, not so much for the cake.

j :D

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:25 am

I think people comparing it to expensive cars hit the nail on the head. You get some advanced features, over-engineering, premium materials, prestige and looks.

It certainly doesn't justify a 12k price on its own, but many higher end fridges have two compressors. I've had several fridges where the stuff in certain parts of the fridge would freeze if the freezer was kept where it should be (0 degrees). This happened even on a not so cheap KitchenAid. Now I have a Samsung that I paid around $1700 for and it has dual condensers (but not dual compressors). I don't have any of the problems with temperature inconsistencies I had with other models.

BTW, the KitchenAid had the problem from the beginning. I had service out and they said to adjust the temperature and make the freezer warmer so stuff wouldn't freeze in the fridge. Great solution.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by bnes » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:29 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:25 am
I think people comparing it to expensive cars hit the nail on the head. You get some advanced features, over-engineering, premium materials, prestige and looks.
Don't ignore life cycle costs. What will the fridge(s) cost you over a lifetime of use? How many cheaply made throwaway fridges will you need?
Alternatively, will energy efficiency or food preservation features developed over time mean you're actually better off with a new fridge every 10 years? Complicated questions.

goodlifer
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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by goodlifer » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:52 am

I'm in the market for a new fridge. I need glass/metal shelves because the plastic shelves broke several times already on my GE Profile, and they are expensive to replace. It isn't that old and was about $3,000 when I bought it, so I expected more. I get uneven temps and the ice has always been misshapen. I also need it large enough to hold the large Costco meats and the almighty birthday cakes. I'm thinking of looking at restaurant models since I can't find what I need at the stores. I wouldn't want to spend $12,000 on one, but I would much rather spend more and get what I needed rather than wasting another $3,000 on junk. The good news is that I have learned a lot since then!

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:59 am

bnes wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:29 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:25 am
I think people comparing it to expensive cars hit the nail on the head. You get some advanced features, over-engineering, premium materials, prestige and looks.
Don't ignore life cycle costs. What will the fridge(s) cost you over a lifetime of use? How many cheaply made throwaway fridges will you need?
Alternatively, will energy efficiency or food preservation features developed over time mean you're actually better off with a new fridge every 10 years? Complicated questions.
In the period 1985 to 2010, say, the average consumption of a new fridge dropped from 2000 kwhr pa to c. 600 kwhr pa. And the average US fridge got bigger and had more fancy features. This is known as the "Art Rosenfeld effect" for the physicist and California Energy Commissioner who drove this through-- in CA and then the Federal government standards followed.

But there is not that much more to go for-- a further 75% fall would only save 450 kwhr pa rather than 1500 kwhr pa. There has been research on vacuum walled fridges, but AFAIK they are not a commercial product. You would need something like that to get a really big improvement in energy consumption from here - and how a user uses a fridge (e.g. how long do your teenagers hold the door open for?) starts to become a serious factor in actual consumption.

It's one of the few cases where scrapping a fridge from the 1980s or 1990s, say, would pay off in environmental and cost terms. Also from an environmental perspective, the CFCs (not HCFCs) in older fridges slowly leak out, and that's awful for the ozone layer and other reasons-- so a disposal according to international treaty standards (the Montreal Protocol) which mandate the collection and destruction of those CFCs is the best outcome.

For most appliances (except washing machines and dishwashers) there is almost certainly more environmental harm and financial cost in early replacement than is gained in savings in energy and water.

An expensive fridge now is not necessarily more durable than a cheap one. Or to be more clear, the cheap end probably still is made from cheap components and will wear out faster. But medium price and expensive fridges are about size and features and brand, rather than about quality per se: think BMW v. Toyota. BMW is a higher prestige brand but they are generally not more reliable than Toyotas (and even less so).

Modern appliances have lots of electronics and tend to follow "bathtub curve" reliability. They fail early in the life due to flaws in manufacturing, or towards the end of designed life. That said, our parents probably kept appliances for 25+ years, now I suspect 10-15 years is more realistic.

Miele might be an exception. They use genuine higher quality components. But they are expensive to get fixed, particularly in North America. I would consider Miele for the water & electricity appliances - washers & dishwashers, where reliability is a real challenge by the nature of the problem.

In fact I use Bosch, which is the same company as Siemens except the Siemens ones are German assembled and mine are Italian or Eastern European assembled. But the North American ones are assembled somewhere else.

Remember most of the world's appliances are made by a handful of companies. LG. Samsung. BSH (as above). Electrolux (which I think includes Hoover and Whirpool and Frigidaire in the USA). Zanussi, Ariston & Hotpoint (GE) are the same company here, I think (and cheap & unreliable). Chinese have just entered the world market.

I had a friend with a Viking range in the UK, she became close personal friends ( ;-)) with the VP of Viking Europe over the problems she had getting it installed and working. So much for £10k (£20k?) stoves ;-).

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:01 am

UALflyer wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:54 am
ncbill wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:19 pm
yep, a quick look over at the CR website has their "recommended" pick of standard fridges starting at $1500 (depending on design)

the top-rated "recommended" built-ins are closer to $9000.

so my answer is "design the kitchen to use standard appliances" - NO built-ins.
The vast majority of the population buys houses with kitchen cabinets already in place. Hence, my point above that the refrigerator types are not interchangeable, so it's not like a person replacing a built-in refrigerator has the option of putting in a $1K fridge without making extensive and expensive changes to the kitchen.

If you are one of the few homeowners redesigning a kitchen, the decision on whether to use a built in refrigerator or a standard one tends to come down to the type of house that you own. Built in refrigerators do generally function better, keep food fresh much longer and are built to last much longer, so they tend to be the equipment of choice in higher end houses, and better kitchens is a significant factor that tends to allow you to sell a house faster and for more money. So, with a higher end house, putting in a lower end kitchen can easily end up costing you more money down the road. You don't generally want to overimprove your house for the market, but underimproving it can be just as dangerous.
Do built-in units really perform better and more reliably? Isn't it just something as simple as making sure the unit is pulled out far enough from the wall for efficient cooling?

This is UK data, but with Bosch, the built in units cost £200 more per unit and are, generally, the same units otherwise. The saleslady when we renovated our kitchen told us that as well.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:04 am

goodlifer wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:52 am
I'm in the market for a new fridge. I need glass/metal shelves because the plastic shelves broke several times already on my GE Profile, and they are expensive to replace. It isn't that old and was about $3,000 when I bought it, so I expected more. I get uneven temps and the ice has always been misshapen. I also need it large enough to hold the large Costco meats and the almighty birthday cakes. I'm thinking of looking at restaurant models since I can't find what I need at the stores. I wouldn't want to spend $12,000 on one, but I would much rather spend more and get what I needed rather than wasting another $3,000 on junk. The good news is that I have learned a lot since then!
I have this one:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-22 ... :212,loc:2

I have to tell you, I am very happy with it. I've had it 4 years (the link might be a slightly newer version). It is big for a counter depth. If you don't need counter depth, you can find bigger. I hate a refrigerator sticking out 6 or 10 inches past the counter though.

The ice in the door frees up freezer space. On the negative side, it doesn't hold as much ice as a standard ice maker would. I've never had a problem with temps and items freezing in the fridge like in other fridges. The shelves are glass.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by UALflyer » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:26 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:01 am
Do built-in units really perform better and more reliably? Isn't it just something as simple as making sure the unit is pulled out far enough from the wall for efficient cooling?
Just like with everything else out there, there have been bad built-in refrigerators out there, but in general, they do actually perform better and are designed to be significantly more durable. There are always exceptions, but in general, over a life cycle of a single built in refrigerator, you will typically end up going through two to three standard refrigerators, and will also have significantly more food spoilage with regular refrigerators. See one of my posts above for some of the specifics.
This is UK data, but with Bosch, the built in units cost £200 more per unit and are, generally, the same units otherwise. The saleslady when we renovated our kitchen told us that as well.
I have no idea how it works in the UK, but in the US, Bosch (as opposed to Thermador, which Bosch owns) is not a real competitor in the built-in full sized refrigerator market, as Bosch makes no built-in refrigerators larger than 36". As a point of reference, a standard modern built-in refrigerator is 48", and older cabinets were designed for 42" built-ins.
Last edited by UALflyer on Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by p14175 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:25 pm

dharma student wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:01 am
I am in the market for a new appliance package. My loca store has a 1600 rebate on select, upscale Kitchen Aid appliances and I am leaning in that direction. I am look at ~ $7k approx for DW, Fridge, Micro, Stove before rebate

But I saw a Viking refrigerator for $12,000. Some of their other appliances are even higher......OK, it keeps the food cold, frozen when desired....what is this poor half indexer/half active/half stock/half bond Bogehead missing?
The only thing thing that I see missing, at least for the fridge, is how big of a refrigerator do you really need? In our last house we had a 21 cu ft bottom freezer model. We may have used 30% of the space and that was pushing it. Our new home has an 18 cu ft, still too big, but we will wait until it fails before looking for something smaller.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by newphillybogle » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:50 pm

Hi dharma student,
I purchased a KitchenAid appliance package just like what you are describing a little over 1 year ago. I got the higher end versions of most of the appliances and got them in black stainless steel which is gorgeous. My main goal was to replace an old 1990's set of Whirlpool appliances with something reliable, stylish and would fit in all existing openings in my small kitchen. I had seen high end SubZeros in friend's houses, and yes they looked awesome, but none of them would fit in my kitchen and I just couldn't justify the high price. I have been thrilled with my KitchenAid appliances, not one single issue since I got them. I agree with another poster on this thread that the ethylene gas filter in the produce drawer keeps things fresh for weeks, much better than my previous fridge. I got my appliance package for about $6500, so I say just go for it.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator?

Post by Angelus359 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:10 am

Pinotage wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:44 pm
Sometimes showrooms keep really expensive models on the floor to make the purchase of cheaper (but still expensive) alternatives seem financially responsible. Or really junky models priced not too much lower than higher quality product, which can help the customer justify the marginal extra cost for much higher perceived quality.

In the end, just know what you value and what you are willing to spend to get it.

As another poster mentioned, it is all relative, and some simply value the product more for whatever reason.
dharma student wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:37 am
I own a little Prius that gets me from point A to B at 42 MPH (It is 10 years old). Alot of my money strapped friends insist on driving 15-20 MPG vehicles....growing up poor really teaches you.
In an effort to achieve 42 mpg, I really hope you don't drive 42 mph on the highway! :sharebeer
In my Prius, I get 60mpg at a steady 60mph with cruise control on
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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by snackdog » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:25 am

We have a Subzero that came with our house when we bought it. We never would have thought to pay so much for a refrigerator. In fact, our last one was under $2,000. But, the SZ, it turns out, is fabulous and we like both the commercial/industrial quality and function. We noticed that food stays incredibly fresh. A week in the SZ is like a day in the normal refrigerator. The SZ has dual compressors - one each for refrigerator and freezer. Something about single-compressor frost-free units makes them rot the food a lot faster. It would be hard to go back to a normal fridge now.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by goodlifer » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:34 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:04 am
goodlifer wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:52 am
I'm in the market for a new fridge. I need glass/metal shelves because the plastic shelves broke several times already on my GE Profile, and they are expensive to replace. It isn't that old and was about $3,000 when I bought it, so I expected more. I get uneven temps and the ice has always been misshapen. I also need it large enough to hold the large Costco meats and the almighty birthday cakes. I'm thinking of looking at restaurant models since I can't find what I need at the stores. I wouldn't want to spend $12,000 on one, but I would much rather spend more and get what I needed rather than wasting another $3,000 on junk. The good news is that I have learned a lot since then!
I have this one:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-22 ... :212,loc:2

I have to tell you, I am very happy with it. I've had it 4 years (the link might be a slightly newer version). It is big for a counter depth. If you don't need counter depth, you can find bigger. I hate a refrigerator sticking out 6 or 10 inches past the counter though.

The ice in the door frees up freezer space. On the negative side, it doesn't hold as much ice as a standard ice maker would. I've never had a problem with temps and items freezing in the fridge like in other fridges. The shelves are glass.

Thanks. I didn't see that one at our local BB so I will have to look into it.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by GmanJeff » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:38 pm

if you buy appliances which don't fit in with the norm for homes in a given price range, you'll be challenged if you ever want to sell your house, at least if you buy downmarket appliances relative to norms for the home of the type you're speaking of. Buyers expect certain features in certain home price ranges, and if Viking or Subzero fridges are one of those features and your home doesn't have one, your home will likely sell more slowly and/or will bring a lower sales price.

If there is any chance you might sell your home in the foreseeable future, it might be worth asking a few successful real estate agents who work in your neighborhood for their advice regarding the likely impact of your appliance selections on your sales price.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:23 am

UALflyer wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:26 am
Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:01 am
Do built-in units really perform better and more reliably? Isn't it just something as simple as making sure the unit is pulled out far enough from the wall for efficient cooling?
Just like with everything else out there, there have been bad built-in refrigerators out there, but in general, they do actually perform better and are designed to be significantly more durable. There are always exceptions, but in general, over a life cycle of a single built in refrigerator, you will typically end up going through two to three standard refrigerators, and will also have significantly more food spoilage with regular refrigerators. See one of my posts above for some of the specifics.
This is UK data, but with Bosch, the built in units cost £200 more per unit and are, generally, the same units otherwise. The saleslady when we renovated our kitchen told us that as well.
I have no idea how it works in the UK, but in the US, Bosch (as opposed to Thermador, which Bosch owns) is not a real competitor in the built-in full sized refrigerator market, as Bosch makes no built-in refrigerators larger than 36". As a point of reference, a standard modern built-in refrigerator is 48", and older cabinets were designed for 42" built-ins.
Thank you for the explanation which was very interesting and informative.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by deikel » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:21 pm

UALflyer wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:03 pm
deikel wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:31 pm
Could the OP maybe describe what features this 12k fridge has compared to a more 'normal' choice - I am curious what innovations there have been in the fridge world.....
As I mentioned above, the refrigerators are not interchangeable, but since you are curious, I can describe the differences. Built in refrigerators are cabinet depth, which is 24", so they can be flush with kitchen cabinetry. Standard refrigerators are all much deeper than that, and are generally between 29" and 35" in depth, so you can't install them flush with kitchen cabinetry.

From a functional standpoint, an advantage of a built in refrigerator is not just in the way it is designed for a seamless look (you can also have it completely integrated into the cabinetry, where the refrigerator door exactly matches the cabinetry, so that it all looks like one unit), but also in the fact that having a wider and more shallow refrigerator makes it much easier to see and reach things in it than the more narrow and deeper design of standard refrigerators.

Also, modern standard refrigerators are generally designed to last 8-10 years. Built in refrigerators are designed to be significantly more durable, so that they are designed to last at least 20 years, and come with significantly longer warranties. Most standard refrigerators come with a 1 year warranty. Most built in refrigerators now come with 2-3 year full warranties, 5 year parts and labor sealed system warranty, and a 12 year parts only sealed system warranty. These differences account for at least some of the price differences.

Although all refrigerators are designed to keep food cold, that's not all that is needed to keep food from spoiling. I think that all modern built in refrigerators now use dual compressors and air filtration, which makes most types of refrigerated and frozen foods last significantly longer. Dual compressors and air filtration have a number of other benefits, as, for instance, if you put fresh fish in the refrigerator, your ice cream and ice held in the freezer will no longer taste or smell like fish.

The downsides to built in refrigerators are their outrageous up front pricing, as they are all made by a few high end manufacturers.
Thanks for that summary. So it seems warranty, size restrictions/optics and supposed longevity are the features you pay for.

What strikes me as odd is that the build in type fridges seem the norm in Europe and to my best recollection they were not that much more expensive than the stand alone ones (but sure both types are way smaller than the behemoths here in the states, but its a while I might be off). I am glad I have a kitchen design that supports a stand alone version and my current cheap fridge is in its 15th year and still going well.

To answer OP original question than, I dont' think that money is well spent.
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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by dia » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:18 pm

I am in the market for a fridge and recently went shopping. Wow. Sticker shock. I would like to pay no more than $1000. What a joke.

It needs to keep my food cold. That’s it. No fancy lighting—I don’t live in there. I don’t even need a water or ice dispenser since I have a faucet and a recipe for ice cubes. How do I use a fridge? Let’s see, I open the door, grab the carton of milk and close the door. Not much interaction with the appliance. Absolutely no way will I spend thousands.

I Had to increase my budget to $1600 as I Would like French door style.

Thanks to the massive amount of foreign cheaply made models taking over the showrooms— the traditional manufacturers have had to cheapen up manufacturing in order to compete. I miss the old days. I wish I could get an ice box.
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. --Winston Churchill

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by FraggleRock » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:22 pm

dia wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:18 pm
I wish I could get an ice box.
Don’t be silly.
The ice man no longer delivers.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by obgraham » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:17 am

I had a subzero in a house where we designed the cabinetry for it. Yes it was some decades ago, but I don't think the SZ performed any better than a standard reefer. It did have twin compressors, and they were easy to replace. Which was very handy because I replaced three compressors within about 8 years.

After that house we returned to mainline reefers, GE, Whirlpool, and now a Samsung. Haven't had a bit of trouble with any of them. Likewise for the cheapo $300 Frigidaire which sits in the garage holding pop and beer for now 22 years.

If looks and shape are important, spend the money. But it likely won't keep the milk cold any better than the ordinary ones.

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Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

Post by alfaspider » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:00 am

I hope I don't jinx myself, but I've never had a refrigerator fail nor have I ever heard anybody complain their fridge failed. They are generally pretty reliable appliances that mostly get replaced due to features and aesthetics.

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